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Rehoming Your Pet

We understand that circumstances in life can sometimes mean that you may find yourself in need of finding a new home for your pet or the pet of a loved one. If you're in this situation, we'd like to encourage you to try and re-home your pet directly rather than bringing them to the shelter. This is often a much more calming and comforting way for ownership to change hands for the pet, and means that you are able to be fully involved in the process. 

We're here to help and can recommend some key tips and tricks to make the process go quite smoothly. If however, you feel you've exhausted all your options, know that you can of course contact us to discuss your choices.  

(203) 746-2925

Tips for Writing  a Pet Description

One of the key components of rehoming a pet is sharing information with potential  new families to help find a good match. It's tempting when writing these descriptions to share the details of why you are needing to find a new home for the pet, but remember that many people skim when reading long paragraphs and may find it more engaging to read about what to expect when living with this pet, what they enjoy, and the things that make them happy. 

We recommend always being honest and forthcoming about your pet, but keeping the pet description largely positive is also important to encouraging interest. 

Again, when we say keep it positive, we don't mean hiding the truth. But keep in mind that we all have different expectations of life with pets. A dog who chases or doesn't get along with cats may make a perfect pet for someone who is looking for a companion for their other dogs or a person with a cat allergy.  

Some examples of keeping your language positive and matchmaking focused:


  • Needs a lot of exercise

  • Needs too much attention

  • Isn't good with my kids

  • Hates other animals


  • Will make a great running partner

  • Loves people / being by your side

  • Needs the peace of a home without children

  • Would prefer not to share a home with other pets / Would like to be your one-and-only

You can also use templates to help craft a pet description or bio for you pet if you need more guidance. Most prospective families want to know a bit about what to expect and what life will look like with this animal, so start there!

Tips for Great Photos

In addition to the pet description, photos are really important to catching the attention of someone who might want to adopt your pet. Photos (and video clips!) are a great way for the potential new caretaker to connect with the pet. Try for about 4 different images to show variety! 

Here are some quick tips for taking better cell phone photos at home:

​1. Get On Their Level & Fill Frame

Rather than stand and take a photo of a pet from above, crouch down so you're taking the photo more at eye level with them. Also try and be sure they are taking up most of the photo, rather than appearing as a small part of a larger photo. This helps more accurately show size and connect with their eyes. 

2. Use Natural Light & Avoid Harsh Sun

Oftentimes people think that a clear, sunny day is perfect for pictures -- but it's actually the opposite! Sunny days make for harsh shadows and squinting, which even effects pets! Look for a shady spot or a cloudy day and your photos will be gorgeous. Using natural light like this is preferable to florescent overhead lights.(even when indoors, just try to position things so the window is behind you, the photographer).

3. Pay Attention to Background

To maximize connection and impact, try to take a photo without much clutter or distraction in the background -- we want the pet to be the star!

4. Shoot for Eye Contact

Use a funny noise, a treat, or toy --- held right over the lens of your camera -- to get a photo where the pet is looking at you and making eye contact.

Other Tips for Matchmaking Success

  • Don't rule out potential new homes before you learn more. It can be tempting to but a lot of restrictions on what you think is the perfect new home for the pet, for instance "must have fenced yard" or "must work less than 40 hours per week". But consider that "perfect" may look different than you imagine: Someone without a fenced yard who walks the dog on a leash is arguably giving them more attention and exercise than letting them out the door into the yard. And someone who works 60 hours a week but splits their time between home and work, or hires a petsitter, is still giving excellent attention

  • Check your email regularly and use an email address you can view frequently. Rehoming websites will use that email to get in touch with you and allow potential new homes to ask questions, etc. 

Getting the Pet Ready for Rehoming

A healthy pet is easier to rehome so try and be sure that your pet is up to date on vaccines. If possible, reach out to your vet and ask for copies of your veterinary records to pass along to the new owners. 

If your pet is not spayed/neutered, it's important to have that done before they are rehomed. You can see our "Medical Resources" page for more information on how and where to find low-cost options. 

There are a few options for posting your pet on websites that specialize in rehoming and offer specific platforms for simple, safe and free ways of transferring ownership to a new owner. 

Getting the Word Out

NFSAW Courtesy Post

We share courtesy posts on our Facebook page and website to help you rehome your pet.

Rehoming is your responsibility and we will post your contact information for a potential owner to contact you directly.

In order to make a courtesy post we ask that you submit a Pet Assistance Request linked below:

Rehome by

To list your pet on this site, visit their website and create a profile. Not only does this site get seen by thousands of potential pet parents in your area, it also allows you to review applications for your pet and set up meetings with potential new families.


Waive rehome fee with coupon code: RCXHAQTL2U8AD8Z

to Home

Home to Home is another platform that allows you to post your pet -- but you need a local shelter to be associated with the profile you create. Visit their website and search by zip code to find a shelter near you -- and if your local shelter is not participating you can request that Home to Home onboard them so you can get started.


Rescue Me is a site that can help reach community members within 2 hours of you sharing your pets information.  They email adopters in your area based on the breed of your pet and interest on their mailing list.

Using Social Media

Once you post your pet on a rehoming site, you can then share the link to their profile on social media to help circulate it and get more eyes on them.

When you post on any social network to share your pet, try these quick tips for success:

  • Tell a story. Sometimes a heartfelt story about your pet and your search for a safe place for them to land can help people understand your choice to rehome and help get the post shared to other potential adopters. 

  • Be descriptive.  Use the same advice as you did when writing your pet description - be positive, share important basics (weight/size, age, preferences, etc).

  • Choose your cutest / favorite photo. Grab attention and help show off their best side! Make sure it's a recent photo and accurately represents them

  • Include your contact info or ask people to DM you. If there's a deadline for seeking the new home or other critical info share that too.

Other Networks & Community Connections

Consider other off-line connections you have to help get the word out. You never know who might be looking for a pet! 

  • Friends

  • Family members

  • Neighbors

  • Co-workers

  • Community contacts

    • School

    • Church, Synagogue, House of worship

    • Membership groups

    • Community-based organizations

You can also make flyers -- using the same basic information you used in your online pet description and a few great photos -- and post them in different locations around your community:

  • Veterinarian

  • Pet supply store

  • Feed Store

  • Coffee Shop

  • Restaurants / Diners

  • Work, school or other community bulletin boards

Meet & Greet:
Interviewing Potential Adopters

You want to find the best possible match for your pet, so the first step is transparency. Share with the future family any medical information, behavior information (to the best of your knowledge), the pet's personality and lifestyle in your home, and tendencies.


From there, some thoughtful questions can help you learn more about the prospective adopter and their family:

  • What is a typical day like in your home?

  • What qualities are you hoping for in a pet?

  • What behaviors would be hard for you to tolerate or difficult to manage in a pet?

  • Do you have other pets? Tell me about them

  • Are their children in your family? If very young, will they be supervised with the new pet?

  • What questions do you have for me about our life with the pet?

If it's an option for you, consider doing a trial sleepover where the pet goes to stay and you check back in. If you're able to take the pet back temporarily, let the new adopters know that you'd like that option if things do not work out.

Once the pet is settled into their new home, have the adopter sign a transfer of ownership agreement to make it official!

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